Justin, I read your column every week, and I feel like I’ve learned so much! Thank you! You keep saying that your law firm practices Elder Law. What exactly is Elder Law? – Kate
Kate, I’m glad you’re enjoying the articles. I enjoy getting to explain the myths and truths about our area of practice and educating the public. Elder Law is a specific legal practice that focuses on the complicated legal needs of seniors, for example, estate planning, long-term care planning, and qualifying for financial benefits through Medicaid and the Veterans Administration.
A large part of our practice involves planning in advance for the eventual need for Medicaid assistance and VA Aid and Attendance. This involves working with clients to structure their assets to protect them against the high costs of long-term care, possible Medicaid liens, and other risk of loss or waste. When preplanning is no longer an option, we can also protect a substantial amount of assets even if a client is already in need of long-term care. In such cases, we not only work to preserve the maximum level of income and assets possible under the circumstances, we also shield our clients from having to deal directly with these convoluted state and federal programs.
The estate planning side of Elder Law involves preparing legal documents and developing plans that allow clients to pass their assets down to their heirs at death without probate court. We also help clients plan for disability and incapacity by setting up power of attorney documents, which allow them to name a person of their choosing to handle their financial and healthcare affairs if they can’t do it themselves.